If you don’t know Supa Bwe, you know his sound. The 29-year-old Chicago rapper has championed a combustible blend of hip hop, pop-punk, and R&B and helped carve out what would become a fertile, crowded lane occupied by younger stars like Lil Uzi Vert, XXXTENTACION, Trippie Redd, and YNW Melly. And yet, Supa is still constantly producing personal stylistic flourishes that no other artist could possibly replicate. On “Rememory,” from his new EP Just Say Thank You, he enlists Chance the Rapper to craft a dewy, electric piano-driven lullaby in which Bwe bounds in from left field and snatches the mic, instantly turning the track on its side with his singular singing voice—the sweet, sticky, Auto-tuned caterwaul of a lovesick feral cat.
Supa Bwe (pronounced “Supa Boy”) is a kinetic, ambidextrous vocalist who casually jumps octaves and delivers raw, bellicose raps on command. When he raps, he sounds like a completely different person than when he sings—you can almost hear the spittle flying out of his mouth. And though he is definitely more likely to flex when he starts rapping (“Bitch, I spent your granddaddy pension in Gucci”), there is rarely a clear distinction between the subject matter of his two modes. On “BOOM BOOM BOOM,” he imitates Glock and Maserati sounds and sings, “I’m a gorilla, ooh-ooh-ooh / girl, I’ve been that nigga since first loose tooth.” It sounds like Chief Keef ghostwriting for Ginuwine.
Just Say Thank You features production that is often slower, quieter, and sparser than that of Supa’s 2017 debut album Finally Dead and leans all the more on his feline wail to sustain its energy. Despite the Chance feature, the most striking cameo on the EP is a hilariously Auto-tuned clip from a Breakfast Club interview in which Soulja Boy rants about Drake biting his flow. Taken with the title of the EP, the message rings clear. Supa Bwe the modern rap pioneer is perhaps too modest to say it himself in his songs, but he summed up the sentiment in an interview with Uproxx: “I honestly just want my work to be appreciated.”